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THE HANDS OF WAR

A TALE OF ENDURANCE AND HOPE, FROM A SURVIVOR OF THE HOLOCAUST

A well-honed tale of momentous courage and strength.

A Holocaust survivor’s novelistic account of persevering through the horrendous firebombing of her hometown of Hamburg, Germany.

Finely delineated details distinguish this memoir by Hamburg native Ingram, now an artist living in Washington, D.C. At age 8, in the summer of 1943, the author had to grow up fast: With her father coerced into working for the Luftwaffe in Belgium (he was beaten and pressured to divorce his Jewish wife), the author narrowly saved her mother from committing suicide by gassing herself in the apartment’s oven. Her mother was in despair after having received their deportation notice, and she was still reeling from the earlier deportations of her nearest relatives to occupied Russia. Almost immediately, however, the bombs began to drop around the neighborhood, and their apartment building crumbled, forcing mother and daughter to take to the streets to find safety. Here, Ingram inserts some staggering details, such as her mother’s hostile confrontation with the block’s air-raid shelter warden, who refused admittance to Jews and their rejection as well by the church. Having to keep moving through the scene of incendiary horror probably saved them. For the next 18 months, they managed to hide out on a nearby farm owned by a rather objectionable woman, Frau Pimber, who had earlier been entrusted with the care of Ingram’s middle sister, Helga, graced with “Aryan” looks, fair hair and eyes. A closing chapter encapsulates the harrowing survival tale of a youth Ingram met at the Blankenese refugee school who had been nearly worked to death at a slave-labor camp run by the “Cannon King,” Alfried Krupp.

A well-honed tale of momentous courage and strength.

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62087-185-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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